2007 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 8 vs Susquehanna Valley

Blue Devils defeat Susquehanna Valley 35-28


Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

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Photo credits - none

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Forks withstands SV's emotional rally
Sabers fight back from 35-0 halftime deficit
By Michael Sharp
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
CONKLIN -- For the record, the Chenango Forks football team wrapped up a perfect 8-0 regular season Saturday with a 35-28 win at Susquehanna Valley.
But on a heavy-hearted senior day in Conklin, under concrete gray skies that gave way late to an October sun, that final score told so little of the story.
Trailing 35-0 less than four minutes into the third quarter, the Sabers roared back to score 28 straight points, delighting the home crowd, answering a halftime challenge and honoring the late father of senior lineman Kane Kemberling.
"There's obviously no quit in Sus Valley," Chenango Forks coach Kelsey Green said afterward. "They played with a lot of pride and emotion. It was a tough week for them over here, and especially a tough day, and I think they did themselves proud."
While Forks tuned up for Saturday's Section 4, Class B semifinal against Owego, the Sabers arrived at their home field to learn Kemberling's father, Konrad, had lost his two-year battle with cancer earlier that morning.
An announcement of the news and a moment of silence preceded the national anthem -- Kemberling was in the lineup and on the field -- before Forks cruised quickly to a 28-0 halftime advantage.
Halfback Joe Aston helped lead the charge, wracking up 82 of his 122 rushing yards and the first of his two touchdowns before halftime. Ryan Freije, Jake Reynolds and Clint Cade also had first-half touchdowns for the Blue Devils, who scored on each of their first four possessions and took a 268-47 advantage in total yards into halftime.
"Our mind-set at half ... we came in, our coaches were talking to us, yelling and everything," said SV senior quarterback Eric Novobilski. "Basically, they came in (with) about a five-minute speech from our coach. And he left with: 'It's up to you guys, leave it on the field or you leave it in here. ... You pick.' "
It was quite apparent which one they chose.
Aston took a pretty option pitch from Reynolds in from about 28 yards out, spotting Forks a 35-0 lead at the 3:41 mark of the third. But from there, it was all Sabers.
Tyrone Smith scored from five yards out to cut the lead to 35-6, and following an SV interception, Chris Lewis barreled over the line to help make it 35-14.
"That second half, I was just like, if we don't have any heart and we can't play for Poppi, I don't know what we're doing right now," Kemberling said. "So I told them, let's do it for Poppi."
The SV passing game came alive, with Novobilski going 5-for-7 for 74 yards after halftime. The defense grabbed a second interception, and another touchdown from Lewis suddenly left the 1-7 Sabers trailing the second-ranked team in all of Class B 35-21 with 8 minutes left.
To be fair, some of the damage SV did in the second half came against Forks' second stringers -- a fact Sabers coach Ray Haskell acknowledged afterward.
"I have to say, hats off to Kelsey Green to understand the psyche of our team and get the second-teamers in there, and give us a boost," Haskell said. "I just want to say that to Kelsey Green and the Chenango Forks staff, to have that kind of class they had today."
But with the score 35-21, the starters returned for the Blue Devils, only to have SV rip a fumble away, and march right back down against Forks' first-team defense, cutting the deficit to 35-28 when Novobilski spun across the goal line with 1:56 left.
The late drama would be short-lived, though, as Chenango Forks corralled the ensuing onsides kick, before Nick Stephens sealed the win with a big 8-yard run on third-and-three.
"I'm walking off with my head held high today," Novobilski said. "Just because our mind-set at half -- I came out with the team saying just what the coaches said, basically. To leave it in the locker room or leave it on the field.
"And we took that second option."

SV's Kemberling plays for 'Poppi'

By Michael Sharp
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
CONKLIN -- As they battled back in the second half of Saturday's 35-28 loss to visiting Chenango Forks, the Susquehanna Valley football team began using a new cheer.
"We were in the huddle," said senior lineman Kane Kemberling, "all we were like was, 'One, two three: Do it for Poppi.' "
Poppi is Kemberling's father, Konrad Kemberling, who died Saturday morning after a two-year battle with cancer.
Hours later, Kemberling was in the lineup for the Sabers on an emotional senior day at Susquehanna Valley High.
"Today, I figured dad just wanted me to come out and play," he said afterward. "I wanted to play for him."
Play he did, helping to bolster an undermanned Susquehanna Valley line and helping to inspire a big second-half rally.
The Sabers trailed 35-0 early in the third quarter before scoring 28 straight points.
"I went to his house this morning," SV coach Ray Haskell said. "I went there and I said, 'Kane, I understand if you don't want to play.' He said, 'Oh, I've got to play coach. I've got to play.'
"So, he wanted to play. And Joe Canini, our other noseguard, he missed last week's game against (Chenango Valley) because of a concussion, and he was kind of iffy. We didn't want to play him too much, only really one way today, because he was two-way starter. So Kane played, and he gave it his best shot for his dad."
Late in the fourth quarter, once Chenango Forks' Nick Stephens had sealed the victory by picking up a key first down, Haskell called Kemberling out of the game one last time.
He left to a nice ovation and was greeted on the sideline with a long hug from his coach.
"I heard the news today when I was leaving the house for the game," said SV senior quarterback Eric Novobilski. "And all I could think was God bless him if he plays.
"And Kane came today. He came in just like everyone else, just silent. He was crying. And we all were there for him. We said, 'Kane, whether you play or not today, God bless you.'"
Novobilski added: "This one's for his dad."

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Photo credits - None

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 21 7 7 0 - 35
Susquehanna Valley 0 0 14 14 - 28
  • CF - Ryan Freije 1 run (kick failed)
  • CF - Joe Aston 1 run (Tim Zdimal run)
  • CF - Jake Reynolds 30 run (Rob Lumsden kick)
  • CF - Clint Cade 44 pass from Reynolds (Lumsden kick)
  • CF - Aston 28 run (Lumsden kick)
  • SV - Tyrone Smith 5 run (kick failed)
  • SV - Chris Lewis 1 run (Jake Kachmar pass from Eric Novobilski)
  • SV - Lewis 3 run (Justin Slezak kick)
  • SV - Novobilski 11 run (Slezak kick)


First Downs 15 21
Rushes-Yards 36-118 46-288
Passing Yards 121 69
Comp-Att-Int 7-12-1 4-6-2
Total Offense 48-239 52-357
Punts-Ave yards 5-29.2 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 6-69 4-30


Susquehanna Valley rushing

  • Tyrone Smith 7-33, 1 TD
  • Eric Novobilski 13-32, 1 TD
  • Sean Haughton 4-31
  • Chris Lewis 8-23, 2 TDs
  • Mike Banko 2-4
  • Kyle Barnes 1-1
  • Jarred Ragard 1-(-6)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Joe Aston 14-122, 2 TDs
  • Nick Stephens 13-64
  • Jake Reynolds 6-50, 1 TD
  • Tim Zdimal 3-22
  • Ryan Freije 3-17, 1 TD
  • Shane Baron 1-7
  • D.J. Smith 1-6
  • Mike Jeske 4-5
  • Tom McMillen 1-(-5)

Susquehanna Valley passing

  • Eric Novobilski: 7-for-12, 121y, 1 int.

Chenango Forks passing

  • Jake Reynolds 4-for-4, 69y, 0 int.
  • Rickey Bronson 0-for1, 1 int.
  • D.J. Smith 0-for1, 1 int.

Susquehanna Valley receiving

  • Chris Lewis 2-66
  • Jake Kachmar 4-43
  • Jarred Ragard 1-12

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • Clint Cade 1-44, 1 TD
  • Matt Mirabito 1-12
  • Ryan Freije 1-7
  • Tim Zdimal 1-6

JV Score:  ?

Preview Article


Post-game Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Forks perfect again
Susquehanna Valley may have owned the big second-half comeback on Saturday, but Chenango Forks still walked away with the undefeated regular season.
The Blue Devils, who withstood 28 unanswered points from SV to hang on for a 35-28 victory, finished 8-0, setting up Saturday's Section 4 Class B semifinal against visiting Owego.
Forks also notched perfect regular seasons in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 before a loss to Corning East last season snapped the streak.
"To have a zero in the loss column speaks volumes for our team, all 34 of them," Forks coach Kelsey Green said after Saturday's win. "And today they all got their shot out there. And sometimes we looked great, and sometimes we didn't look so good, but that's high school football."


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